From the Rich and Famous, Retiree Lends Her Skills to Serve the Poor
For 25 years, Anita Zaputil was gracing the Mansions of BelAire and Beverly Hills catering the finest of meals to the rich and famous. Now retired, she thought she would fill some of her time by volunteering at the Mission. She visited the kitchen and jumped right in. Today, she is known as the “salad queen.”
“Yes, I enjoyed my years catering to the wealthy,” says Anita, “but there is something so fulfilling and rewarding about helping people who are hungry and appreciate what we give them.”
As a widow and mother of four adult children, Anita, for spiritual and philanthropic reasons, felt it was appropriate to devote a portion of her week to those in need. You can find Anita every Friday evening, chopping lettuce and creating a gourmet salad which she personally likes to serve to the homeless. After the meal, you will find her scrubbing pots and pans, grateful for another day to serve.
Passion and Purpose Found in Serving Others
It was a Sunday morning and Mission Director Ken Craft was talking about the Rescue Mission at West Valley Christian Church. Sitting in the audience was Scott Dahlgren. He was moved by the message and decided to offer his skills preparing food in the kitchen at the Rescue Mission. That was nearly two years ago.
“There is no greater feeling than handing a hungry person a plate of food, or giving away a pair of shoes to someone who has none,” says Scott. “You can hear about the Grand Canyon, and look at pictures, but until you are there you have never really experienced its power…so it is with serving the hungry and homeless. Until you do it, you will never understand the power in serving and blessing others.”
Scott is one of the lead cooks at the Mission. He has assisted in preparing the over 40,000 hot nutritional meals served at the Mission in our first two years. Thank you Scott!
If you would like to volunteer at the Mission, call 818-392-0020
Retired Plumbing Contractor Cooks Meals at Mission
Cleaning Pipes or Cleaning Dishes, It’s About Serving Others
Meet Jim Henaghan, a retired Plumbing Contractor and former Restaurant owner. Each Wednesday morning, Jim is at the Rescue Mission preparing food, cooking and washing dishes. When asked why he donates his time and talents to the hungry and homeless, he says, “I have always enjoyed cooking and this is a small way I can give back to those in need in the community.”
Jim learned about the Mission through a fellow member of the Porter Valley Business who encouraged him to lend a hand. Thank you Jim for all your hard work in the kitchen!
Texas University Grad Falls on Hard Times
Giving Plasma 2x per Week Keeps him Going
Warren is one of the hundreds of homeless men we serve each week. He is not a drug addict or alcoholic. He has spent most of his adult life driving trucks for a living, but currently he is unemployed, looking for work and sleeping in his car each night. He is not unemployed for lack of effort. Each day he is filling out applications. “There are over 100 applicants for every job I am pursuing,” says Warren.
Asked how he is making it from day to day, he says, “I keep trying to land a job, but in the mean time, I donate plasma two times per week. I get paid $30.00 each time. Those meager funds put gas in my car so I can keep looking for work.”
Like so many of the nearly 7,000 homeless in the Valley, Warren is incredibly thankful for Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission. “I am so grateful to the Mission. They feed me physically and spiritually and give me hope to keep pressing on,” says Warren.If you have potential employment for Warren or other drug-free homeless people, call the Mission today at 818.392.0020.
Homeless But Not Hopeless
She has not always been this way…homeless, living in her motor home, and barely surviving from funds received from Social Security and recycling fees. At one time, Joyce was a homeowner in Van Nuys. She worked as a nurse for many years, caring for children. Then, she became sick with ovarian cancer. In the year that followed, she had surgery, lost her savings, her home, her job, and other elements of her health. She became homeless, destitute, and desperate.
“It was horrible,” Joyce says. “I used to cook meals for the homeless and then I became one of them. It has been a terrible experience. I am embarrassed to say, but there have been times I have had to pick my meal out of dumpsters behind restaurants and markets. I am not proud of it, but I refuse to steal from others.”
When asked about her thoughts regarding the Rescue Mission, she says, “I love Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission. You are like family to me. You truly care about me and others trying to get off the streets providing showers, clothing, food and most importantly love….THANK YOU. You are always giving and never asking for anything in return. You are wonderful group of people.”
Volunteers serve by:
- Providing specialized classes and training
- Helping cook and prepare meals
- Serving a hot lunch or dinner
- Assisting with office tasks
- Cleaning and maintaining the facilities
- Sorting donated clothing and food
Check out some of our Hot Meals programs by
If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Johnathan Leeper at email@example.com or call 818.804.5517.
All volunteers MUST fill out our Volunteer Application & Waiver Forms below by clicking on the link. You can bring the form to the event or scan and email the signed forms to